Mark 7: 24 - 30
Historical Background of Mark's Gospel
The Story of the Syro-Phoenician Woman
[A] woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about [Jesus], and came and fell down at his feet. The woman was a Greek, by race a Phoenician from Syria. And she started asking him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He responded to her like this: "Let the children first be fed, since it isn't good to take bread out of children's mouths and throw it to the dogs! [kynaria]" But as a rejoinder she says to him: "Sir, even the dogs under the table get to eat scraps dropped by children!" Then he said to her: "For that retort, be on your way, the demon has come out of your daughter." She returned home and found the child lying on the bed and the demon gone (Mk. 7:25-30).
The Deeper Understanding of the Passage.
The setting of this passage is located in Tyre. At the beginning of the story, Jesus is a Messiah for the Jews, but later converts to a Messiah for everyone. In this passage a woman approaches Jesus and asks him to heal her daughter for she is possessed by a demon. During this time period, adults would eat first, and the children would get whatever was left over. Jesus refers to the woman as a dog. At that time, dogs were referred to as unclean animals. He says, "Let the children first be fed, since it isn't good to take bread out of children's mouths and throw it to the dogs!" The woman fights Jesus' metaphor with a metaphor of her own. She says, ""Sir, even the dogs under the table get to eat scraps dropped by children!" With that statement, the woman makes Jesus understand her situation. She is implying that even the children share their food with the dogs. With that, Jesus converts to not only a Messiah for the Jews, but also a Messiah for all.
Concluding the Story
-Sacra Pagina written by John R. Donahue and Daniel J. Harrington http://books.google.com/books?id=ji0wIgAACAAJ&dq=sacra+pagina&hl=en&sa=X&ei=GC4dUeGSDafJ0AGEl4GwAQ&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAA
-The passage itself. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/james_still/syrophoenician.html